These invariably stupid click-generating listicles do serve a purpose: they are a handy indicator of just how blinkered and idiotic our "media elite" are! Last year's winner of the "most miserable list" (so much more fun than the "most literate" list!) was Detroit, which, as we all know, is basically a post-apocalyptic hellhole, just like in Robocop. But this year Detroit's not even in the top 5! You know why? Because of the Pistons!
Detroit relinquished its 2007 crown of most miserable city despite a memorable 2008 that included a jailed mayor, the further deterioration of the auto industry and the NFL's first zero-win, 16-loss season.
The Motor City benefited from our revised criteria this year (we added sales tax and sports teams in addition to corruption). Its 6% sales tax is one of the lowest in the country. The success of Detroit's winter sports teams more than offset the ineptitude of the Lions. The Red Wings and Pistons won two-thirds of their games, including a Stanley Cup title for the Wings.
And so Detroit drops to 7th-most miserable, a crushing defeat for the city. Those Wings really brought the hope back to Detroit. What auto industry collapse? (Oh, Flint is number 6.)
The country's most miserable city is, of course, Stockton, California, which doesn't even have a hockey team. As a city where no one will have a job next year, that's a defensible choice, but is number 3-ranked Chicago really worse-off than Flint just because of a 10% sales tax and the impeachment of Blagojevich? Is the Forbes model over-weighing quarterback controversies?